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Interventions to change maternity healthcare professionals' behaviours to promote weight-related support for obese pregnant women: a systematic review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicola HeslehurstORCiD, Dr Lisa Crowe, Shannon Robalino, Professor Falko Sniehotta, Emerita Professor Elaine McCollORCiD, Professor Judith Rankin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: There has been a rapid increase in the publication of guidelines for managing obesity and weight gain during pregnancy over the past five years. Healthcare professionals have identified multiple barriers to this area of practice, including the need to improve their communication skills, beliefs that pregnant women will have negative reactions to weight-related discussions, and a lack of weight management knowledge. This systematic review aimed to identify: the effectiveness of interventions in changing healthcare professionals' practice relating to maternal obesity or weight management during pregnancy; and which behaviour change techniques and modes of intervention delivery have been used in interventions to date.Findings: The search strategy included searching electronic databases, trial registers, and citation searching. Inclusion criteria were intervention studies targeted towards changing healthcare professionals' practice in relation to maternal obesity or weight management. The searches identified 3,608 studies. However, no eligible completed studies were identified. One registered Canadian randomised controlled trial was identified. The trial includes a training intervention for family physicians with the aim of supporting adherence to gestational weight gain guidelines. The trial had not yet commenced therefore no effectiveness data were available.Conclusions: The current focus of maternal obesity and weight management research is targeted towards changing pregnant women's behaviours. These interventions do not address the multiple healthcare professionals' barriers to maternal obesity and weight management practice. Further research is required to identify the most effective approaches to support healthcare professionals to implement maternal obesity and weight management guidelines into practice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heslehurst NH, Crowe L, Robalino S, Sniehotta FF, McColl E, Rankin J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Implementation Science

Year: 2014

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 05/08/2014

Acceptance date: 10/07/2014

Date deposited: 26/09/2014

ISSN (electronic): 1748-5908

Publisher: BioMed Central


DOI: 10.1186/s13012-014-0097-9


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